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Why do we drink beer? Some might drink it because they want the buzz or they like the atmosphere where beer is consumed. Most of us beer lovers would probably say the taste. We like the wide variety of flavors that can be produced with hops, water, malt and yeast as the main ingredients. For many of us the atmosphere is not insignificant. There is nothing better than having a London Porter at The White Horse by Parson’s Green in London, a Paulaner Weize Bier at Nockherberg in Munich or an Old No. 38 Stout from North Coast Brewing at Dain’s Place just a few block from my home. It’s the same with food. There is nothing better than well prepared food from locally grown ingredients that have not been changed or processed. If it’s at a restaurant with good atmosphere or at home with good friends it makes the food even better.

Last year Anheuser-Busch (A-B) launched Bud Select 55 with the lowest calorie content in the world, only 55 of them. Select 55 is an answer to Miller-Coors Genuine Draft 64, 2.4% ABV and 64 calories. The marketing before the launch was as heavy as the bombardments of Dresden in 1944. I saw the PR kit with 3 bottles of the beer in a box with a CD  and a specially designed media kit

Bud Select 55 PR kit

that probably cost more than a case of Select 55. So that is probably why people drink the beer, a successful marketing campaigner. It can’t be the taste. It has a watery, chemically apple juice flavor. It doesn’t resemble anything like beer. It can’t be because of the buzz. It only has 2.3% or so alcohol. If you want a buzz you have to drink an awfuller lot of them and you will probably spend most of your time in the bathroom and for sure not enjoy the atmosphere. According to A-B the style for this beer is American-style lighter light lager. American-style lighter light lager!? There is no such style to be found in Beer Judges Certification Program (BJCP) Style Guide. That’s probably because normal people would call beverage with that classification contaminated water!

Good food and beer is often high in calories and not healthy if you have to much of it. And that is the key. Select 55 is made so that you can have as many as you want without feeling guilt. And that is where we fool ourselves. Instead of having the good once in a while we have the mediocre all the time. I’ll take the good once in a while any day.

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